Frustration, Doubt… and LibreOffice

Happy Halloween!

Is there anyone out here in cyberspace who hasn’t seen the movie, The Shining? There’s probably a few. Out of the ones who have seen it though, I bet most think of Jack Nicholson as being the villain. But, as a writer, I would label him as a victim and can identify with his character in this movie. Jack Torrance (Nicholson’s character) is a writer, after all. Shelley Duvall’s character, Wendy keeps on looking in on him during his writing sessions, driving him batty. He’s having enough of a struggle with a story idea he isn’t sure is worth the struggle of pursuing. I can understand how he got to the point where he went insane.

My difficulties aren’t quite as maddening as Jack’s were. My son is in his forties and lives three states away from me. He isn’t a bother at all. I don’t have any other job I need to do other than the normal chores around the house. Actually, the tasks give me some exercise in between writing sessions. And I don’t feel stranded within my surroundings like the Torrance family did.

Even so, I have personal obligations I feel must be met. It never seems to fail. These duties arise when my momentum is up for writing. Does this happen to you? I’ll be thinking about just the right way to make a scene work when the obligation comes up and I must leave my keyboard to take care of it. They interfere with my line of thought, screwing up the whole project.

Jack had Wendy to deal with. She didn’t mean to be exasperating. Still, that’s exactly what she was. Jack would be going at a good steady clip at the typewriter when Wendy would come waltzing through the lobby where he had set himself up spilling out question after question at him. I have a spouse who is having a terrible time stopping himself from being a nuisance more or less in the same way. He doesn’t mean to be a pain and lately, he’s actually needed my attention because of recent health issues. Still, he doesn’t require my undivided support 24/7, does he? No, I don’t believe so.

Yes, he is my albatross more often than I want to deal with but I love him, so I continue to bite my tongue when he disturbs my writing. I also have an inner pest. Doubt.

After taking some time to think about the precariousness of my muse, Melpomene, I wonder why I don’t just fire her. When I’m thinking about my writing, she’s enthusiastic and so very helpful. Yet, within five minutes of my fingers thumping on the keys, she’s throwing a heavy fog into my focused thinking making me work three times as hard to get short distances in my endeavor. Yes, I know there are plenty of other writers who have this same problem. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Although I think often of firing my muse, I know I won’t because without her I probably would give up writing altogether.

Enough ranting.

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I’ve seen the tracks of so many writers out here in cyberspace trying to find the best way to write. I’ve seen them because I’ve been trudging along the same path for quite a while now. There are only a few writers, if any, who can afford to try all the software out there that pledges to make writing simpler and easier.

I have yet to find the program that can legitimately make good on their word—at least to my satisfaction.

Sure, Scrivener has all those bells and whistles that so many writers seem to want. I wanted them too for a long time. As anticipated, I couldn’t afford the program so I went with yWriter, which isn’t a bad choice either. But I discovered something as I used this program. I was being cunningly distracted by all the slots where I could put information. It would have been the same or worse in Scrivener. There’s a slot for character profiles, setting summaries, scene outlines, a storyboard, and the list goes on.

Then SmartEdit came out with their own Writer. I looked it over and ended up downloading it because, again, it had some bells and whistles. In addition to the slots I mention above, it also had a copy edit feature. It’s a pretty extensive one too. All the same, just the thought of it being just a click away made me look sideways when I should have been focusing on the writing task at hand.

Jacqui Murray, someone who has been giving me sound advice and tips for several years, uses Google Docs for her writing. I debated whether to follow her lead a few times on the matter of writing software. Eventually, though, I decided I didn’t want my word processor online. But her idea led to me wondering if the word processor I had chosen could do the things Google Docs can do.

I’m using Libre’s Writer these days to write my blog posts. It sits offline in my toolbar tray ready to use at any time. Actually, I have the whole LibreOffice, although I rarely use the other programs in it. It’s the Open Source version of Microsoft’s Office.

Anyway, The Libre site has a section filled with extensions for all the programs in the Office suite. I can pick and choose which ones are going to be of help to me. One of these extensions is LanguageTool. It does pretty much the same thing as SmartEditor, pointing out the errors in grammar and spelling. Additionally, the word processor has a dictionary and thesaurus. True, these mentioned extensions aren’t as powerful as SmartEdit. So I’ve kept the SmartEdit Writer for the purpose of deep-cleaning my manuscripts before I send them to a professional editor.

The point I’m dancing around is this: Although having the bells and whistle in a program can make you feel as though you’re being super productive, sometimes what you have is a pile of distractions.

—————

“To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.”
― T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with “The Divine Presence”

I hope your Halloween is full of fun and without any tragic incidences.

27 thoughts on “Frustration, Doubt… and LibreOffice

  1. I use Word. I think Microsoft Office is one of the best bargains in the world of software. Ironically, I like that it doesn’t include a lot of writing aids. I use other programs for those tasks, so I have to make a conscious effort to open them. I think it boils down to whatever works best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although Libre has a feature in it for correcting grammar, not just spelling, I wonder how good it really is because after writing a page worth, often nothing is underlined to tell me I need to clean up the grammar. I really don’t think it’s because I’m that skilled because I know I’m not.

      What programs are you using for grammar?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tried Grammarly, but my “writing style” includes enough misuse of grammar to make it a major headache. Word’s grammar is basic, but it’s good enough in that it makes the basic/blatant suggestions.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is brilliant, Glynis. What we need most is not bells and whistles but uninterrupted time to write. You seem to be doing very well, even with those few distractions.

    I just read somewhere that writing in Comic Sans interrupts the creative process less than other fonts. I haven’t tried it yet but I plan to do my own research with this simple tool.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I did purchase Scrivener, but it took me many years to purchase software that I thought would be conducive for writing. I used Word for a very long time, in fact all my short stories and 3 books were born using Word. My third book in the Servant of the Gods series is been hatched under Scrivener. Very different thinking process.
    I am glad you have an application that you feel is useful and suitable for your needs, Glynis 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I must have done the opposite of you. I started with yWriter, the poor man’s version of Scrivener. I wrote my first ever draft with it. However, all those bells and whistles got me confused when it came to editing and rewrites.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I tried using Scrivener but found all the options too mind-blowing and I like to work with tactile physical printed sheets of what programs like scrivener can show on the screen. I came back to word in the end but do use one document for a whole novel rather than dividing chapters into separate files. I love to have printed material of my own writing guidelines, mindmaps, and research by my side as I type. Grammarly sits there on the desktop un-used. Interesting post! Oh and I love comic sans script for things like blog writing and what I call ‘hand outs’ of information. YES to it being a relaxing, go for it, font!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Lynne.

      I have yet to try the Comic Sans. When I get to a new project I’ll do it.

      If I had more room at my desk, I’d probably be doing a lot of printouts instead of minimizing all my preliminary stuff for projects.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to have a bigger desk but it disintegrated on the move I made 10 years ago. I didn’t have the money to buy a new one. The one I use was given by my in-laws. SIGH! The life of a writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I watched The Shining a while back. I think I need to re-watch it to get acquainted with the story line again. The challenge with reading and writing is after a while I tend to forget about what I’ve read or written. At the moment I don’t use a writing software for my writing. I am thinking when I get back to writing my book, I might in order to keep track of my changes and thoughts along the way as I make changes. The more I get into a writing project, the more thoughts I usually have that I need to flesh out, read and take stock of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has trouble remembering things written or read. The writer in Libre Office will keep track of earlier versions of your writing. However, except for the comment feature of the program, it doesn’t have a tab where you can keep notes. Scrivener, yWriter, and SmartEdit Writer do have that function.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yeah, there are days when I don’t want to do anything but write and not be bothered. People still do of course but it’s all pretty blameless really. I mean, if they stopped talking or interrupting, that would be odd. Of course, it might make for a good story idea, too. But it can be frustrating. Still, without loved ones in your life, I think the writing suffers. We need new stimuli for new stories and characters. So we have to work when we can really. It’s okay, though. Just keep writing in between the interruptions. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I’ve done a fair amount of pondering since I wrote this piece, coming to the conclusion that I may not be the right person to write fiction. I know, where did that come from? The distractions have been overpowering when I try to write fiction. I end up walking away from the keyboard in sad silence. Yet, when I write nonfiction, the interruptions don’t bother me even half as much. In a nut shell, maybe I need to change my writing path.

      Liked by 1 person

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